We usually see monarchs enter the Phoenix area in early September and this year I spotted my first one on 9/14 in my yard. Usually we see them at several milkweed patches around town first. On 9/16 a female was laying eggs and when I went out to collect them I found small 2nd instars already on the plants. By degree days it seems the eggs were deposited on 9/11 when I was out of town. Right now I have 48 pupae and another 13 larvae. That was until this afternoon when I uncovered some milkweed in my garden under shade covers from our recent heat wave and found another nine fifth-instars. There are another 10 to 15 scattered around the yard. We are tipping the scales here at over 70+ larvae and pupae! I have a small yard and have been buying more milkweed to support these hungry larvae. Never had this many before.
Checking around town we are seeing monarch egg-laying in areas, but usually under 10 eggs per location. We are just entering our peak migration window so we will likely now see a mix of breeding and migrating monarchs. But these early leaders of the pack were mighty busy here in Phoenix this year!